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Grandparent scammers busted

Protect yourself from phone scams in this undated file image. Protect yourself from phone scams in this undated file image.
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Police busted two people knee-deep in a grandparent scam.

On Thursday, Huronia West police were notified of a potential grandparent scam in the works in Wasaga Beach.

Between Thursday and Saturday, a victim had been contacted by phone advising them that their grandson had been arrested.

The caller identified himself as a Newmarket police officer and told the victim their grandson needed financial assistance to cover the costs of the judge, as well as lawyer fees to get him out of jail.

This person visited the victim's house on three separate occasions to collect the money. However, they were greeted by the police on the third visit.

A 24-year-old from London and a 25-year-old from Bowmanville were charged with fraud over $5,000, and the London person was also charged with resisting a peace officer.

What is a grandparent/emergency scam?

Emergency scams, including variations called grandparent scams, use urgency and the manipulation of emotions to extort money from victims.

In these scams, fraudsters cold call seniors on landline phones, claiming to be a grandchild, family member, law enforcement officer or lawyer calling on behalf of their loved one.

They will say that the person's loved one was involved in an emergency situation, such as a collision, charged by law enforcement, legal peril, being sick or injured, etc.

They demand the senior provide payment immediately for supposed bail, legal fees, fines, or other amounts to stop the family member from going to jail or to get them released from custody. This is a scam.

Warning signs and how to protect yourself

  • If you receive a suspicious phone call claiming to be from a family member in an emergency, hang up the phone and contact them directly on the number you have in your contact list.
  • If the caller claims to be a law enforcement official and asks you to pay a fine or bail, hang up and call your police directly. A police officer will never call you and ask for money.
  • Listen to that inner voice screaming at you: "This doesn't sound right."
  • Be careful what you post online. Scammers can use details shared on social media platforms and dating sites for targeting purposes. Suspects can easily gather names and details about your loved ones.
  • Be suspicious of telephone calls requiring you to immediately take action and request bail money for a distressed family member.
  • Be careful with caller ID numbers that look familiar. Scammers use technology to disguise the actual number they are calling from and make it appear as a trusted phone number.
  • If you receive an email or text message claiming to be from a friend or loved one asking for money, make the outgoing call to the person by looking up the legitimate phone number you have for them in your contact list.
  • Use unique and strong passwords for all social media and email accounts.

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